Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sweet Sherbet

Goodness me, the sun has just appeared!  After what has felt like a very grey and dull week, I was so very grateful for the sun's appearance.  I have otherwise been trying to inject some Spring colour into my week.  A new baking book arrived.

The couple of things I have made so far have been excellent.  This is one book I can see getting lots of use, excited about this one!

The perfect spot for a read has been in the sitting room.  I am so enjoying this room, which of course was out of action for 38, YES 38, weeks last year!  It's had a facelift and is a joy to cosy down in.

I've been enjoying sourcing thrifty prints, bits 'n' bobs, and fabrics for cushions.  I did sort of borrow one item for the photos though.

This is the latest quilt finish I have to share with you.  I just really love this quilt.  Really!

 So it seems, does Jacky Ginger!

I guess everyone has their own taste and favourites but I think this is one of mine and I'm feeling quite giddy at letting it go.  

But that's ok, because it means I can make another, doesn't it?  And I do love thinking that someone else out there would love this as much as I do.

So should you fancy it, you will find this beauty patiently waiting in my blogshop.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Glorious Devon

Hello readers, how are you all?  Had a good half term "break"?  I do hope so.  Waaaay back when, before half term and child rearing got in the way, the Mr and I headed off for a little jolly while the Munchkin was off at Scout camp.  Unfortunately, Mr HH came down with the man flu which was a shame but he struggled on stoically.

Now I would like to tell you that we headed West somewhat like this...

 ... but in fact it was courtesy of a more modern and less glamorous variety of train!  But no matter, because the sun shone (remember that) and off to Exeter we headed.  It was a first for me to visit this city and I was looking forward to it, not least because our abode for a couple of nights was to be here:

This is Southernhay House, located brilliantly right in the centre of town, just behind the beautiful cathedral.  This is the  latest venture by the folks who own Burgh Island; you may or may not know this is a place dear to our hearts, so we had high hopes for its towny counterpart.

The building is actually Georgian but like Burgh Island, is decorated with a nod to art deco inside.  There are only ten rooms, we stayed in "Sugar", all the rooms being named after tradable commodities (in keeping with the occupation of its original owner).  It was a welcome sight after a fairly long rail journey.  Comfy-looking, huge bed... goody.

The bathroom was pretty dreamy, too.

Not to mention the little touches in the bedroom, like Smarties to go with the water.

There was much to see and do in Exeter, and having been very helpfully briefed in advance by city dweller Joe, we knew the best places to go.  We set off for Fore Street, home to a burgeoning vintage scene.

We very much enjoyed a mooch in Otto Retro, lots of lovely goodies at reasonable prices. All beautifully arranged by an artful eye.

I did not come away from here empty handed!

We also stopped by Reloved 52 which had an intriguing window display.

There were a couple of vintage clothes shops in town and my impression was that the trend here is more towards the '60s and '70s than the '40s and '50s in which we happen to be interested.  We did have a good time in Relevant, particularly chatting to its charming owner, Lady Lace!

I wanted to buy the shoes the lady herself was wearing!  Instead, I settled for two lovely brooches (if you follow me on Instagram you will already have seen these, including my prize skiver leather find!)

It is fair to say that the West Country folk did not disappoint and were customarily chatty and lovely.  In Good Golly Miss Molly, we had a good old chin wag with its owner and ogled the pretty goods, often made by talented locals, (including Joe!), on display for sale.

All shopped out, we headed back to recover for our adventure on the South Devon Railway the next day.

The day dawned beautifully bright and sunny again, it was so nice to be back in our beloved Totnes.

I hadn't actually been on this preserved railway line previously; usually the boys head for the railway and I head for the town and its shops!  Well, I had obviously been missing out.  There was beautiful scenery at every turn; snowdrops, a babbling brook and grazing sheep.

The coach in which we rode was an art deco masterpiece, straight out of Agatha Christie.

And after each enjoyable but tiring day, there was always that rather splendid bath tub to which to retire!


Other business:
1) Apologies for lack of links: do add in the comments if you know of links to the vendors mentioned.  I don't think any of them have blogs but may have Facebook pages and I don't know what I am doing on that thing!

2)  I posted quite a lot of shots on Instagram while we were away, including the lovely vintage goodies we bought, so I will post a few of those soon in with my weekly IG round-up, as some readers but non-Ig'ers have suggested.

Friday, 15 February 2013


It's true, I am a person given to obsession.  But then you'd already spotted that?

Just a quickie to let you know that I have finally joined the 21st Century and am loving the phenomenon that is "Instragram".  Oooh, how very modern of you, Hen.  I can be found there far too often, snapping happily away with my new toy and uploading all sorts of dodgily shot pictures and adding even more dodgy filters to them.  I love it 'cos it means I can be very lazy about photos and there are lots of lovely folks on there who leave me instantaneous messages.  And, they obviously take their own crazy and beautiful shots for me to nose at.

You can find me @henpinn

Toodles, have a super weekend all.  Me and the Mr are off on a romantic jolly (while he coughs and splutters with the office lurgy.  Nice.) X

Thursday, 14 February 2013

For a Special Little One...or a Penguin

Yee haw, people, it's time for a quilty reveal!

Penguin has something to show you.

This way, please, he says.  

The lady of the house has been busy with her fabrics and her scissors and whirring machine and now we're joining in the fun, me and my motley crew of friends over there...

She's regressed back to her childhood and turned the guest room into a nursery!

But basically, she wants you to know that she has used some "gorgeous" fabrics she's been hoarding to make a cute quilt.  Some have groovy alphabet letters and punctuation marks on, some have cowboy style dots and stripes, and...and...she sneaked in some florals, tut tut.

She thought she could get away with it as they're not pink.  But the Munchkin likes them and has them in his quilt, she says, so that's ok, they are officially "awesome", whatever that is.  It has blocks which are an "hourglass" shape, she says, and lots of nice, fresh, white cotton.

She has put a groovy print on the back which looks really vintagey and has cool cowboys on it, oh and the edge has some sort of check-y stuff, it's called binding, hand sewn the proper way, apparently.

She is thinking there might be a little someone out there who would like this quilt.  It's smaller than her usual ones and would be great in a cot, maybe.  Definitely, it's super snuggly. She says it's in her shop here.

That's a shame, as I kinda like it.

Monday, 11 February 2013

We have a Winner

Hello people, Happy Monday! Absolutely horrified here, to see white stuff, commonly known as snow, falling from the sky.  Yuck!

A big thank you to those of you who gamely entered the craft-it-forward, today is of course, the big draw day!  I was a bit surprised that so few people entered, to be honest; going on previous giveaways, the entries were in triple figures but I guess the "carrying forward" bit made a difference. So, a big thank you to those of you who did enter and were prepared to carry on spreading the crafty love.

So, the random number thingy came up with J's Happiness/Simple Things  as the first winner of the red goodies and Cheryl/Time to Craft as the second name, who therefore wins the pink goodies.  Ladies, as soon as you let me have your addresses, I'll be pleased to get your parcels off to you.  (Leave me a comment with your address on this post, please, it shall be "for my eyes only".)

My trusty handyman has taken up residence again from today to work on renovating the shower room on the top floor.  My crafting time has been chopped down by ordering of materials and so on, and I am accompanied by banging and clanging but all in a good cause, of course.  I have managed to finish making over my latest vintage sewing basket for sale, and funnily enough, it has the look of lurrve about it too, very appropriate.  Sadly, it's a little late in the day for good photos now so I shall hope for brighter skies (and more hours in the day!) tomorrow so that if someone takes a fancy to it, I'll be able to get it posted asap.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Obsessive Stripping

So this week, I've been manically quilting, or patchworking to be precise.  I did finish one smallish cot quilt but I then got completely over excited about another project as soon as I finished the first, so I will get round to showing the cot quilt next week.  I am back in the quilting seat, oh yeah!

Inspired by the ever-obliging Pinterest (I'm sure this is responsible for keeping me awake at night for having far too many ideas in my head), I was seized by the need to make a sixteen-patch quilt.  Fabric has been flying off the shelves of the Den and onto the ironing board then cutting mat in a frenzy.  I am usually quite disciplined and tidy away as I go along but today, I had amassed quite a stash on my ironing board (all still waiting to be put away, pants).

It's another uber-scrappy project, following hot on the heels of the scrappy trip-along(the top for which is finished but I am psyching myself up to sandwich and quilt the monster!)

It's a simple enough pattern to work out.  I'm cutting strips 2.5" wide and 11" long, this gives me a little room for error with the length and means I can get two strips off the edge of a fat quarter, yay.  Oooh, behold a feast of delightful strips, just waiting to be sewn into matching pairs.

Once the four strips have been sewn together, it's time to get cross-cutting (into 2.5" wide strips) before sewing again.

Ta dahhhh, one ends up with a stack of pretty two-coloured blocks, about 8.5" square.  Golly, I have to tell you that this has been seriously addictive.

It brought to mind this little ditty I saw and which made me chuckle.

It's a good job I am so diligent and prioritise the housework (cough, cough).

I've finished all the blocks already, oooh that must be in about 36 hours including general life and sleep getting in the way. I've gone for 42 blocks in a 6 x 7 formation which will make the perfect single bed cover, large bed throw or snuggly sofa quilt.  They're on the makeshift "design board" and I am now officially fed up of rearranging the blocks.  It may not be perfect but as I now have all, yes all, the seams perfectly aligned, it is jolly well staying that way!

Hmm, well maybe!

Have a super weekend, people and don't forget my double carry-it-forward/sort-of-giveaway thingy to win the pretty goodies, details in the post below this one. Winners to be drawn on Monday.  Excitingamundo!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Lurrrve is all Around

On Saturday, the Mr and I were lucky enough to be invited to attend a wedding.  Ooh, I hadn't been to a wedding in years!

I had a pretty nutty week actually, which culminated in a secret assignation outside the Tate Modern where I met a lovely young American lady.  You see, I needed a new frock (no, Mr HenHouse, of course I didn't have anything suitable in my wardrobe already) and I knew that finally, here was my chance to wear one of those splendid vintage lace and satin numbers from the '50s that I see at fairs but never have a reason to buy.  The dress duly tracked down on Etsy, Jenny offered to hand deliver the dress as she was coming to London.  Phew, that was one less thing to worry about.  I was absolutely thrilled with the dress, it only cost me £50 and it fit like a dream (miracle when you are not an off the peg size 10!)  I would show it to you but I do so hate photos of myself so I'm afraid this is the best you get!

As luck would have it, the wedding was in Chelsea so an easy trip for us with the promise of our own cosy bed for the night later on.  It was a freeezing cold day but dry and bright at least, and as the bride in question is Russian, we did allow ourselves a few quips that she is presumably used to cold weather!

I loved the wedding transport.

Afterwards, we walked briskly up the Kings Road to the reception (past Cath K, Brora and Marilyn Moore, this was not sensible planning!) where a treat of an evening awaited us at the swish Bluebird.

There were some interesting touches here and there to reflect the bride's heritage.  Her mother had cooked a round loaf of bread, presented on a platter with a long cloth and a bowl of salt.  The tradition goes that the bride and groom each takes a bite and whomever takes the largest bite shall wear the trousers in the marriage, so to speak!

Not forgetting the real Russian vodka of course, drunk neat and quite delicious actually, but it didn't have quite so delicious an effect on my head the next morning!

It was a lovely evening and the lucky couple are now sunning themselves in the Maldives.  Jealous, moi?

Anyway, talking of lurrve, you haven't forgotten that the day of romance is nearly upon us?  Yes, the 14 February is obviously not far away, for any of you love birds out there who like to mark St. Valentine's Day.

I half-inched those lovely flowers from the table at the wedding.  I did have permission, honest.

Now on to other business, as they say.  A little while ago, I was the recipient of a jolly delightful parcel courtesy of the Lovely Ellie of Jelly Jam.  You see she was taking part in a "carry it forward" and as such, offered some frankly rather yummy goodies up on her blog.  And what do you know, the lucky winner just happened to be yours truly!  So now it's my turn.  As Ellie had had a Wintery theme to her C-I-F (you can see what Ellie sent me here), I decided to go all out for lurrrve.  So, the idea is that I now carry forward the crafty love by offering up some goodies to another kindred spirit who shall in turn be prepared to do the same.

The theme really started because I wanted to have a go at making a cute heart-shaped pot holder I had seen on Pinterest.  Despite the air turning decidedly blue whilst trying to sew on the bias binding neatly, it's turned out pretty cute, me thinks.

(Hen, you didn't spend all morning faffing round with pretty cups and teaspoons and stuff, did you?  No, no, of course not... splutter!)

Just in case you're wondering what on earth you do with the thing (rather than hang it up and gaze upon it fondly), you can slip your little fingers in and pick up your pots and pans whilst protecting your hand.  Get it?

Carrying on the heart theme, well there had to a good old hanging heart stuffed with scrummy fragrant lavender, made using the crazy patchwork technique with vintage fabrics, bits of lace and so on.

Now, what might you find yourself doing lots of around St. Valentine's Day?  Well, if you're lucky, lucky, lucky you might be anyway, and if so, you'll want to have nice soft smackers, won't you?  So when I saw these cute vintage-styled lip balms, I thought that'd be perfect.

To top it all off, I felt there had to be something edible involved and when I saw some good old Love Hearts, I thought that would be the finishing touch, especially as when you've snaffled them all away, you're left with a cute pin tin.

So, here's my "craft-it/carry-it-forward" offering.

So here's the deal.  In order to take part, you need to be resident in the UK.  Sorry to exclude overseas friends but postage is eye watering these days and this little lot is a bit heavy.  (I'll have a giveaway in future open to absolutely all, so don't you worry.)

You also need to actively write a blog of your own.  This is because you need to be able to let the world at large know about your own C-I-F, don't you?

Obviously, you need to be prepared to craft and/or or buy a few goodies to send the lurrve onto someone new.  Clear as mud?   

Annnnnnddddd... because I am a tardy old thing, I am actually offering another lot of goodies, a second C-I-F, as I took part in another of these jolly affairs a while back and am now rolling the two into one.  So, if your name comes out first, you'll be getting that pretty red package up there, but fear ye not as the second name is a winner here, too.  Here's hoping you like pink...

Because the second lot of goodies is decidedly rosy!

I'll draw the winners in about a week so that there's time to get your package out to you by St. Valentine's Day.  I'll leave a note on this post to say when the comments are closed.  Phew.  Comment away, do, dear readers... 

Toodle pip!

P.S.: if you leave me a comment, thank you kindly, please make it clear whether you wish to be included in the C-I-F.  I will assume you do unless you tell me otherwise.